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Mantras have been used for meditation for more than 5000 years. Mantra Meditiation is a simple practice which is as effective today as it was in the method was first developed. In simple terms a mantra is a word or phrase that is repeated out loud or internally for the purpose of meditation. Mantras are an important part of a number of Eastern religious practices but they are also used by non-religious practioners as well. Below you can learn more about the origins, meaning and purpose of mantra meditation.

 The history of mantra meditation

mantra meditation: no strict rules required
By: Photo Dharma
mantra meditation: does not have any strict rules

Mantra meditation was first described in the Sanskrit yoga texts from India which are called the Vedas. Despite these origins, practice of mantra meditation is not specific to either Buddhism or Hinduism. It can be used by anyone of any race, religion or color. It is also practice that does not have any strict rules that need to be followed. It can be used at any time and at any location. Even without a deeper understanding of the spiritual practice behind mantra meditation you can still benefit.

The power of words is not specific to Eastern culture. Many cultures across the world believe that words have special powers associated with them. In India it was believed that by knowing the true name of the gods that you could compel them to do your bidding. Early buddhists would use chanting as a way to cultivate their awareness of the qualities of the Buddha. The first recognized use of mantras appeared with the popularity of Mahayana traditions. These traditions incorporated some non-Buddhist approaches to spiritual practices which were known as Tantra. Tantra made use of mantras as a means of communicating and influencing the gods.

 The meaning of the word mantra

There are two parts to the word mantra the first is “man” which means mind and “tra” which derives from the word “trayate” or to free. Immediately you can see that mantra literally means to free the mind from its limitations. The practice of mantra meditation is one of the awakening. It awakens the practitioner to direct relationship with the supreme self and gives them a greater sense of awareness and peace.

 The practice of Japa

The repetition of the mantra is known as Japa. There is no one mantra that is used by everyone. Rather there are different mantras that can be used to achieve different purposes and to gain specific benefits. Mantras can be used to promote healing, to develop intelligence, to gain enlightenment and to develop spiritual awareness.

 Popular mantras and the correct way to use them

One of the most popular mattress is “om” or “aum”. According to the Veda scriptures this is the sound that was made at the creation of the universe. Whichever mantra you choose you can either say it aloud or simply repeat it in your mind. At first it is recommended that beginners speak the mantra slowly in order to gain understanding of the correct pronunciation and intonation. As the of this awareness develops the practitioner can increase the speed at which they recite the mantra. It is important not to be too caught up with the idea of perfect mantra chanting. It is believed that the most important thing when chanting a mantra is to use your heart. It is sometimes useful to look up the meaning behind the words of the mantra. This helps you can in connection with the mantra which can sometimes sound foreign to the Western speaker. It also helps you to connect with the deeper spiritual importance of the mantra that you are using.

 The purpose of Mala beads

Mala beads
Mala beads is used to help with the wondering mind.

As with any form of meditation practitioners may find that their mind wanders or the become distracted and they are no longer concentrating on the mantra and receiving the full benefits. One way to overcome this problem is to use what are called Mala beads. In each chain of Mala feeds there are 108 beads. These are made from different materials and are used to focus the mind during the meditation. On each turn of the bead the mantra is recited until a full cycle or 108 beat is completed.


Mantra meditation is an accessible and simple form of meditating which it is available to anyone. By chanting a simple word or phrase either internally for out loud, we are able to focus our mind and achieve a state of higher awareness.

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